Sunday, September 29, 2013

ARE YOU UNSETTLED?


We live in an age and culture where people frequently change jobs, change residence, change furniture, change cars, change churches, some even change companions.  This social acceptance of change has caused a spiritual environment where you can become unsettled and it doesn’t really bother you.  A hundred years ago, people didn’t make so many major changes in their lives.  They were more settled.  I want you to think about this subtle change which is affecting us today. 

Colossians 1:23
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

It is the will of God that we be grounded and settled in the faith of this gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  How can a person be firmly established in faith if they are unsure about what they believe?  How can they have faith to believe if they do not understand?  How can they understand if they do not have someone to teach them the truth? 

To be settled means “sedentary, immoveable.” 
We know that Paul is talking about spiritual stedfastness.
But we also know that physical things can affect spiritual things.
If you don’t take care of your body, you can become so physically sick and weak that it can cause you to have spiritual battles.  You must not discount or ignore the relationship of physical and spiritual matters and conditions. 

What you do physically can affect you spiritually. 
People who become socially unsettled can also become spiritually unsettled. 
People who allow the affairs of this life to so consume their time and energy are in danger of becoming weak in their Christian experience and faith. 

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

You must guard yourself against those things which move you away from the standard.  We have some standards in the church of God and you will be tempted to become so involved with this world that you regularly violate those standards. 

The most important standards which we are making reference are:
·        Your daily devotions
·        Your church attendance
·        Your witnessing to the world
·        Your prayer and fasting
·        Your personal involvement with the work of the kingdom.

These are the areas where the devil will try to move you away from what you should be doing and get you involved in seemingly legitimate necessities.  But what can be more necessary than the maintenance of your one eternal soul. 

Ephesians 3:13-21
13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

What does it mean to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ?  That big pine tree in front of the church building, it is rooted and grounded.  Every time we come to church, it is still there.  It has been established for many years.  I believe it has withstood some very strong wind storms.  We must be like a great tree which can withstand the strong winds of false doctrine.  They will come, but we must stand. 

Luke 10:38-42
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha , Martha , thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

What is the one thing that is needful?  Keep your focus on Jesus.
Don’t get distracted and moved away from the things of God. 
Yes, there is work to be done in this world; but there is more important work to be done in the kingdom.  I know that people do not realize what is happening to them when they allow the “necessities” of this life to take them away from the things of God and become weak in their souls.  Satan is out to rob you of your relationship with Jesus.

Numbers 13:30-14:3
30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Numbers 14
1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey?  Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?

Looking at the enemy and the conditions of this world will unsettle you.
It can even bring you to the place where you think it would be easier for you to go back into sin. 

1 Thessalonians 3:1-4
1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;
2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:
3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

We must not allow afflictions and tribulations to cause us to be moved away from the faith of our salvation. 
We must not allow friends and relatives to cause us to be moved away from the faith of our salvation. 
We must not allow false doctrine and hypocrites to cause us to be moved away from the faith of our salvation. 

Hebrews 12:27-29
27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire.

Are you part of a kingdom which cannot be moved?
Are you easily moved off of the standard and the duty which God has called you to honor and obey?

1 Peter 5:6-11
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Don’t let the battle and the circumstances cause you to take your focus off of Jesus Christ.  Don’t be moveable.  Don’t give up, don’t give in. 
Don’t exhaust yourself on the affairs of this life and lose your eternal life.
Too many people allow the things of this world to cause them to miss church.
·        They miss the encouragement of the praise service
·        They miss the faith building prayer service
·        They miss the spiritual food of the sermons
·        They miss the burden and joy of the altar work

When you miss these important activities, you do not realize the spiritual blessing you have missed.  It is human nature to not miss something you did not experience.  When you get to the place where missing church does not cause you great concern, you will go into a spiritual sleepiness and it can be fatal if you don’t get the victory. 

We live in a spiritual lukewarm age when people have been moved off of their consecration to the things of God.

You can sit in a congregation where the truth is preached and go to sleep.
If you go to sleep, the enemy will come in and ruin your field before you wake up.  When you wake up and realize that the enemy has been working on you, you better cry out to God for help.  The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

BE TEACHABLE

Our burden today is to exhort you to be teachable and easily entreated by the Holy Spirit and the ministers of the Word, which God has given for you spiritual benefit.

2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

What tools and helps do you have and use to study and seek after truth?
Do you use books, Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries and the Holy Spirit? 
Without these helps, how can you intelligently study and seek after the truth?
We need help.  We need books.  We need teachers.   We need the Holy Spirit. 
We learn by hearing, seeing, observing, listening, meditating, thinking, etc.

Jeremiah 3:15
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

How will pastors feed you? 
Are there good pastors and bad pastors?
Are there true pastors and false pastors?
How will you know the difference? 

Jeremiah 23:1-6
1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.
2 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.
3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.
5 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE Lord OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

God did not tell Jeremiah, “I will set up a shepherd.”  God said, “I will set up shepherds.”  Notice the plural sense of the word.  He is not speaking of one shepherd, who is the Chief Shepherd Jesus Christ; but rather, he is speaking of many shepherds which shall hear from God and teach the people. 

Ephesians 4:11-16
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

The word “pastors” in verse 11 is the same word in the Greek as shepherds.  And notice that it is given in the plural sense.  The church of God has one Chief Shepherd, but she has many shepherds.  God has given you pastors and shepherds to lead and guide you in your search for truth.  They do not have dominion over your faith; but rather, they are helpers of your faith.

Do you study the Bible and search for the truth about the plan of salvation? 
Do you read the Bible just because you know you should; or, because you really want to know all the truth which God will teach you?
Do you use a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to help you find relative scriptures which help you understand a particular subject better?
Do you look up words in a good English Dictionary (preferably a Merriam-Webster Collegiate) so that you can know the proper sense and meaning. 
The Apostle Paul tells us that we need to study to show ourselves approved unto God. We must have, and desire to have, God’s approval more than man’s approval.   

We ought to be such students of the Word of God that we are knowledgeable and conversant about what it teaches.  We ought not to be ashamed of our lack of knowledge of the scriptures.  We also ought to study with the desire and motivation to rightly divide the word of truth.  We ought to understand its instructional teachings, its doctrine, its warnings and its promises.  

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

A great benefit of studying the word of God is that it will help you learn when to be quite and when to speak.  We need to study so that the Holy Spirit can alert us to the time when we ought to keep still, hold our peace when it is wisdom to be quiet.  There are certain types of people who are mockers and scorners and we need to recognize when we should refrain from participating in a discussion or debate with them. 

Proverbs 29:11
A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

A foolish person has no restrain about speaking whatever is on his mind.  He may be very educated or not educated at all, it does not matter; he will tell you what he thinks. 

A wise person will listen and learn.  He will study and evaluate what has been said, what is being said; and, he will consider what would be wise to say or not say.  A wise man is not hasty in judgment; because judgment is a serious matter. 

Proverbs 1:5-7
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Perhaps we should consider how we have been trained to listen, hear and engage in a conversation with another person. 
Have we been taught how to think before we speak?
Are we too quick to answer a matter before we know all the facts?
Are we careless in our analysis of what we know and what we do not yet know?
Can the expression of immature opinions be damaging to our relationship with others?
Are we too dogmatic in our statements about what we believe when we have not honestly studied the Word of God to know the truth?  Dogmatic means:  characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts.

I am convinced that too many people repeat what they have been told without proving it to be true.  Whether it is religious or secular, be careful what you repeat.  Prove all things.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
Quench not the Spirit.  Despise not prophesyings.  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.

How many church divisions could have been avoided if people would prove all things. 
Prove whether or not someone said what another person told you they said.
Prove whether or not someone did what another person told you they did.
Prove whether or not the Bible actually teaches what someone told you it teaches.
Prove whether or not someone believes something that you have been led to believe that they believe.
Prove all things.  You cannot prove something if you do not study the issues.

Proverbs 9:9-10
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

A wise man is easily entreated because he has an attitude of sincere interest to know the truth.  He will listen to you and evaluate what you say and what you mean; even though, he may conclude that he strongly disagrees with your opinion.

To study a matter you must mediate upon all of the information you have about the matter.  To meditate means:  to engage in contemplation or reflection; to concentrate on the details and the accuracy and truthfulness of what we have heard or seen. 

Many people have been hurt because someone did not study.  They did not hear from heaven.  The Holy Ghost was not allowed to instruct them in the right and just way.  They came to their own conclusions and beliefs based on their own human reasoning.  How painful.  How sad. 

Because people do not study to know the truth, they form opinions and doctrines of their own which divide and separate chief friends.

Proverbs 18:19
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

Once someone has been offended, it is very difficult to be reconciled.  Perhaps it is impossible without the grace of God which is the healing balm for broken relationships. 

Do you have the grace and humility to go to someone who has been offended?
Regardless of whether or not the offense is your fault or theirs.  Restitution, restoration and regeneration is the will of God.

2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Will you do that?  Will you study?  Will you prayerfully ask God to help you discipline your mind to be still and be quite until you have grasped the truth.

After you have grasped the truth, you are free to move forward in righteousness, mercy and justice.